Etch begins tomorrow, and we’re starting the season off with a smash! In similar fashion to our start last year, we are having a Community Night of Dodgeball. In this post, I’d like to break it down a little to help each person understand the heart behind a night like this:
Community Nights are at the root of what we’re trying to accomplish with Etch. Etch is an intergenerational ministry that is focused on generations passing on the truths of God. Listen to these words from God in Deuteronomy 6:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV – 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
There is a responsibility we’ve been given as believers in Jesus Christ to help those who are behind us to know how God operates. And there is not a moment in life we are to take a break from that responsibility. When we’re at home, walking along the road, lying down, waking up… God established a precedence for his people to follow: Make God our only focus, and let the generations behind us see it!
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve been to Etch before, but there’s nothing there for me. I don’t really enjoy it.” My encouragement to you is this: Maybe what Etch is offering is a chance for you to share your story to the generations behind you.
Community Nights are designed atmospheres to begin tearing down the barriers built between generations. And it starts with the realization that YOU (a believer and follower of Jesus Christ) have something to offer.
Paul Ethington was very close and influential mentor in my life. While in my early 20s, he invited me over to his house one day for dinner with his family. His son, P.J. was only about 4 at the time, and while he and I talked about life he was sitting on the floor playing with P.J. and his toys. I asked him, “How do you do that? I just don’t know how to relate with children.”
Paul’s response blew me away. He said with a smirk on his face, “It’s funny you should ask. When I was your age [I was in college], I saw your father playing with your younger brother and his toys and I asked him the exact same question. So, I’ll give you the answer he gave me: You father said, ‘if you want your children to know you love them, you need to humble yourself and meet them where they are. Get on your knees and play because that’s how they speak.”
So why dodgeball? Kids LOVE it! They see it as a challenge to take on those who are older than they are. What happens, though, is the barriers between generations become broken when a Sr. Adult picks up a dodgeball and throws it at a 6-year-old! The 6-year-old instantly thinks, “This is so cool!”. The barrier is broken when an Elder of the church picks up a dodgeball and flings it with all his might toward a 17-year-old. The barriers break when we remove our pride, our shame, and just have fun!
And yes, I’m calling it out. Pride, shame, the fear of looking silly, all of these are what stand before us and tearing down generational barriers and building strong generational relationships. Dodgeball may not be your “cup of tea”, but I can promise you if you humble yourself and meet people where they are, you’ll be looking a whole lot like the One who humbled himself and met us where we are.
Philippians 2:5-8 NIV – 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross!
If you are physically unable to play, fear not, watching dodgeball is almost as entertaining as playing. So, come be a spectator! We’ll save you a seat.
We hope to see you tomorrow!